Airbnb Getting Started Guide | 10 Tips
The most common question we are asked by potential hosts are “How much can I make doing Airbnb?” and “How much hassle will it be?”. Whilst the answer can often be relatively wide-ranging and dependent upon a variety of factors, there are some important things hosts have to consider before deciding if hosting on Airbnb or Booking.com is the right path for them. We’ve drawn up our top 10 things to consider before deciding to host on Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia etc.
1) Do you have the time to host on Airbnb?
Setting up and successfully running a property on Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia can be time consuming and take much more effort than you might expect. Do you have the time and flexibility to manage all aspects of the listings: photography; vetting guests; taking bookings and payments; preparing the property for the guests; arranging the linen and towels to be washed and prepared; meeting the guests on arrival (if they arrive on time!); answer any questions the guests have; not to mention beinging on call for any emergencies when guests are in the property?
2) What kind of Airbnb host do you want to be?
There are broadly three types of Airbnb host:
The Live-in Opportunist
Live-in Opportunists are Airbnb hosts who are willing to rent out available space from their current home to utilise the extra space. They also want to take advantage of the premium Airbnb guests are willing to pay. Live-in Opportunists are likely to have a narrow rental window and generally only consider renting their spare room out part-time. Most likely they will still be living in it, or listing when they know they will be away for a few weeks and wish to make some extra cash. They’re not likely to put the maximum effort into their listing that the other two types would.
The Regular Additional-Income Seeker
The Stable Additional-Income Seeker is an Airbnb host who wants to achieve a consistent, recurring stream of extra income from their spare room or entire house/apartment by renting it out on a regular, but part-time basis. This could be limited to a couple of weekends a month or for the peak times in the summer holidays when demand and prices are at their highest. Stable Additional-Income Seekers will likely want to take advantage of big local events that create extra demand. They will want to maximise their return with the most efficient amount of effort. The rental income isn’t likely to be a regular additional-income seeker’s main source of income.
The Regular Additional-Income Seeker
Full time rentpreneurs are renting out at least one full time short term holiday let. They aim to make this a full time business by building up their portfolio and making Airbnb hosting their primary source of income. Rentrepreneurs wish to maximise their profit of their holiday let properties. That said, they also wish to manage their properties in the most time-efficient way to seek the next deal. They are likely to pay for that efficiency and free up valuable time.
3) Is there demand in your area to attract Airbnb guests?
What would make Airbnb guests come to your local area? Are there are plenty of reasons for holiday makers, tourists and business people to come and visit? Is there a big university nearby? Are there golf courses? Are there important landmarks to attract visitors? Is your area seasonal?
You will need to consider all these factors before deciding if your property will receive enough interest to justify preparing it for letting on Airbnb, Booking.com or Expedia, and certainly before making it your full-time career.
4) Is your property safe to host Airbnb guests?
Safety should be your number one priority, and a full fire risk assessment should be carried out. There are different fire safety rules and regulations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so make sure you do some research. Be proactive in your approach and ensure you have regularly tested smoke and heat alarms, fire extinguishers and a fire blanket in your property aswell as a clearly marked fire exit. If it’s possible, install closeable fire doors in your property. It’s best to asks guests to refrain from smoking in your apartment. You can set this in the Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia “House Rules” sections.
As with smoke and heat detectors, carbon monoxide detectors are essential to prevent dangerous hazards. This is particularly important if the property has gas appliances and/or a wood burning stove/open fire.
It’s essential that your boiler is serviced and certified once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Provide your guests with easy access to a first aid kit for any medical emergencies whilst in your property. Ensure your guests are told who to call in the event of an emergency. These numbers should be provided in advance and readily available in the property.
Remove the liklihood of any accidents or falls in your apartment by removing obstacles, install handles and railings and put up warming signs for any hazards.
5) Will your neighbours be an issue?
Do you have neighbours who are sensitive to noise or indeed outsiders? You won’t need to worry about this if your property is detached and in the middle of no-where. If it is in an apartment block with elderly neighbours, this may be more of a consideration. It’s best to consult your neighbours in advance as nothing stops an Airbnb listing in it’s tracks like an angry neighbour.
5) Do you have the correct insurance?
Whilst some sites like Airbnb will offer a damage guarantee of some sort, it’s important to ensure you know the risks and liabillities you face by letting out your property. If a guest falls through a glass table, will your liability be covered by your standard property insurance? If there is a break-in, will your guests’ possessions be covered? Specialist holiday let insurance is important to mitigate the risk. Contact us today for a reference to an industry-leading holiday lets insurance firm.
6) Do you have the facilities to do the laundry and turnarounds between guests?
An important consideration for any holiday let is the quality and presentation of the linen and towels. Do you have the time and facilities to collect, wash, iron and prepare the laundry for the the next guests? Does your local laundrette provide a next day, professionally presented turnaround for a reasonable price? Do you wish to have the large expected outlay to purchase all the linen and towels to make your Airbnb listing professional? Or should you hire linen for a local expert? Ask us about the benefits of hired linen over your own.
7) Do you have the knowledge to set up the best listings with amazing photography for the Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia platforms?
Do you have the knowledge and expertise to set up an a winning listing across multiple platforms? Do you know the best way to photograph your property to show it in its best light? Do you know the buzz words to make your property stand out from the rest? Are you able to collect payments, deposits and references from guests? If this all sounds a little daunting and time-consuming, ask us about our range of holiday let management services in the St Andrews and Fife area.
8) Will you be able to meet the guests and be 10 minutes away if anything goes wrong?
Being able to deal with any urgent issues, well, urgently, is an important facet of owning a holiday let property. You need to be able to get to your property relatively quickly to assess any issues and whether a tradesman should be called in, or whether you can fix the issue yourself. It’s important to be on hand at all times when you have guests to answer their queries and deal with these issues. That’s why it’s best to outsource to a specialist holiday let manager like Short Stay St Andrews, who will always be 10 minutes drive away!
9) What local regulations are there to affect your Airbnb listing?
It’s important to know the law when it comes to renting out your property on Airbnb. Whilst it’s relatively simple to create a listing for your holiday let, it’s slightly more confusing knowing which laws apply to you. The Goverment have issued HMRC guidance to deal with the taxation side of operating, but it is your responsibility as the owner to make sure you don’t violate any city, state or country laws. For example, owners in London and potentially soon to be Edinburgh need to be aware of the 90 day rule. Planning or registration may be required in some areas, so ensure you know the law or contact us today for some advice.
10) Will you be able to host when you’re on holiday?
It’s important to think about yourself and your sanity when considering whether listing on Airbnb, Booking.com or Expedia is right for you. Do you have friends or family that can step in should you be on holiday, getting married, on a school trip or any multitude of scenarios? Will it drive you mad doing all the relevant tasks and preparing for your guests? Is it worth considering a local holiday let management expert who will always be on hand, leverage their experience and use technology to simplify all the time-consuming tasks and allow you watch the income roll in? If so, contact us at Short Stay St Andrews for more information and a no-obligation visit to your property to understand what might be possible.